The other day, I saw a strange phrase in the list of search terms:
I copied the phrase and entered it into Google where I was presented with articles about what to do if your WordPress site has been hacked and a page that decrypts suspicious code you find on your site.
Fortunately, this phrase wasn’t executing a command – and since it was only used by 2 visitors to find the site last month, the discovery didn’t warrant a full blown panic attack. However, it was reason enough to double check my security protocols and ensure that no files had been compromised.
If you see a suspicious phrase listed in your analytics file which is being used to find your site, you might want to do some checking and make certain your blog hasn’t been compromised.
If you suspect your blog may have been hacked, here’s a great post by Donncha which describes the basic steps of what you need to do to correct the situation.
To prevent your blog from being hacked, you should:
- Be sure you’re running the latest version of WordPress
- Be sure you’re running the latest version of the plugins installed on your blog.
- With every update, check to make sure all of the plugins you’re using on your site are compatible with the current version of WordPress. If you are using a plugin that hasn’t been updated in more than a few months, then it’s time to deactivate that plugin and find another to do the job it was supposed to be doing.
While I’m on the subject of updating plugins, another great plugin to have installed is the No Longer in Directory plugin. When you run this plugin, it will alert you when a plugin on your blog is being neglected.
All it takes is a single outdated plugin to put your site at risk, so make certain you keep a watchful eye on those plugins. It’s far too easy in the current version of WordPress (4.1 as of the posting of this article) for a neglected plugin to go unnoticed in your dashboard. You can only find these plugins by either individually scrutinizing each plugin – or running the No Longer in Directory plugin.